St. John's has decided its basketball future rests with the best of its past. Chris Mullin, St. John's all-time leading scorer and still the face of its basketball program three decades after his career ended, has agreed to coach the Red Storm, a person with knowledge of the discussions told The Associated Press on Monday. He replaces Steve Lavin who agreed to leave last week, after five seasons during which the Red Storm reached the NCAA Tournament twice. Lavin had an 81-55 record at St. John's and the Red Storm went to the NCAA Tournament in his first and last seasons.
Frank Kaminsky and Jahlil Okafor are as different as stories can be in college basketball. The two, however, have a lot in common - both are in the Final Four and both were the top selections on The Associated Press' 2014-15 All-America team. Kaminsky, the 7-foot senior from Wisconsin, was a unanimous choice Monday. Okafor, the 6-11 freshman from Duke, received all but one first-team vote.
The NFL sent a tough message to Browns general manager Ray Farmer for texting. The league announced its punishment on Monday, ending an investigation that hung over the franchise during yet another turbulent offseason and threatened to undermine the Browns' upcoming draft. The league said his ban begins on midnight of the Sunday preceding the Browns' first regular-season game and will end immediately after the fourth regular-season game. ''I respect the league's decision and understand that there are consequences for my actions,'' Farmer said in a statement released by the Browns.
In the midst of two losing seasons, the Atlanta Falcons tried to pump up the noise. The NFL announced Monday that it had fined the team $350,000, stripped away a draft pick and suspended team president Rich McKay from the league's powerful Competition Committee for at least three months after the Falcons conceded pumping artificial crowd noise into the Georgia Dome. For owner Arthur Blank, the whole episode has been a huge embarrassment on top of firing long-time coach Mike Smith after last season and dealing with criticism over a pricey seat-licensing plan to help fund the team's new stadium. ''Anytime there are actions that compromise the integrity of the NFL or threaten the culture of our franchise, as this issue did, they will be dealt with swiftly and strongly.'' Throughout the 2013 season and into the 2014 season, according to the NFL, the Falcons violated league rules that state ''at no point during the game can artificial crowd noise or amplified crowd noise be played in the stadium.'' The league also said Roddy White, the team's former director of event marketing, was directly responsible for the violation and would have been suspended without pay for the first eight weeks of the 2015 regular season had he still been with the club.
Peyton Manning will have to do without his top target this offseason unless the Denver Broncos reach an agreement with Demaryius Thomas on a long-term contract. Thomas said he'll stay in Georgia, where he'll continue rehabbing his right ankle, which was hurt Dec. 3 when a teammate stepped on him, hampering him down the stretch. Thomas echoed general manager John Elway's recent assertion that the goal was to get a long-term deal done ''as soon as possible.'' If the talks do reach an impasse, he said he'd sign the Broncos' $12.8 million franchise tender by the July 15 deadline. A prolonged boycott by Thomas could hamper the installation of new coach Gary Kubiak's offense that will feature Manning's tactical and timing proficiencies while placing a greater emphasis on the run and two-tight end sets.
Third baseman Kris Bryant was reassigned by the Chicago Cubs to their minor league camp on Monday despite an outstanding spring training at the plate, triggering a threat of litigation from the players' association. Bryant hit .425 in the exhibition season with nine homers and 15 RBIs in 40 at-bats. If the 23-year-old spends 12 or more days in the minor leagues, Chicago would delay him from becoming eligible for free agency by one year, until after the 2021 season, according to baseball's collective bargaining agreement. ''Today is a bad day for baseball,'' the Major League Baseball Players Association said in a statement.
DeMar DeRozan and James Harden have been battling on the basketball court for more than a decade. DeRozan scored a career-high 42 points and tied his career high with 11 rebounds as his Raptors beat Harden's Rockets 99-96 on Monday night, Toronto's eighth straight home victory over Houston.
Getting to the Final Four never gets old for Geno Auriemma and his UConn Huskies. Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis scored 27 points to help UConn beat Dayton 91-70 on Monday night to advance to the national semifinals for an eighth straight season. Some kids don't get to go once.'' Now the Huskies stand two wins away from a third straight national championship. Unlike the first three games of the tournament when UConn won by an average of nearly 48 points, the Huskies got all they could handle from the seventh-seeded Flyers, who weren't intimidated by the top seed for the game's first 20 minutes.
Alabama coach Nick Saban steadfastly defended his signing of defensive lineman Jonathan Taylor, who has now been kicked off his second Southeastern Conference team for domestic violence arrests. Taylor, who some say should never had been on the team, was one of two Crimson Tide players arrested over the weekend. Defensive back Geno Smith was charged with the second DUI including the second DUI of his Alabama career. A defiant Saban was unapologetic Monday about choosing to sign Taylor, who was also dismissed from Georgia before signing with Alabama for similar allegations of domestic violence.